Watching a professional match in Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 (UMvC 3) is one of the most brilliant spectacles in video games. From the health bar-clearing combos to the screen-filling K.O.’s, fans are left jaws dropped and on the edges of their seats when witnessing top-tier-level gameplay. That’s because players have had their hands on UMvC 3 since its original release in 2011. So, how does it fare on PS4? All in all, largely the same. If you’re already a fan, and invested in the UMvC 3 community, it’s an easy decision to pick up this version for your current-gen console. But if you’re like me and you get caught up in the hype surrounding the announcement of Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, you’ve already played the original and you think you can pull off the sick combos you see the pros do, you might want to consider passing on this one.
This is not Infinite. This is not UMvC 3 v.1.5. This is UMvC 3 — a port of a six-year-old game — with very little to differentiate it from the original release. The 1080p resolution and 60fps upgrades are nice additions, but don’t make a noticeable difference unless you’re the hardest of hardcore fan, and, well, counting frames. The explosive, over-the-top action looked good back in 2011, and it looks good now. It just looks relatively the same.
UMvC 3 for the PS4 is basically the same game that’s been available for the past six years. Granted, it’s a good game, but Capcom has not made any additions or enough improvements to warrant spending $24.99 for a current-gen version. To be honest, when Sony announced it was releasing the title for the PS4, I thought it was going to be for free on PlayStation Plus. It was a bit shocking to learn that they were charging for it, and as a consumer, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. With Sony getting to showcase Infinite at PlayStation Experience last year, releasing UMvC 3 as a PS Plus title seems like it could’ve been a great opportunity to introduce newcomers to the Marvel vs. Capcom universe.
UMvC 3’s gameplay is friendly to new players. Pulling off flashy supers doesn’t require memorizing complicated button combinations or thumb-twisting analog maneuvers. You can jump right into local play with friends and have a great time, but that excitement peeters out once your friends leave your couch. Playing online against six-year veterans is not fun. To be even remotely competitive, you’ll need to put in countless hours of grueling practice. That’s a lot to ask of anyone, especially for a port of an old game, even more so with Infinite’s release on the horizon. Again, if you are a seasoned UMvC 3 player, have at it. But if you’re not, be ready for the Berserker Barrage of pain.
If you’re determined to put some serious effort into improving your skills, UMvC 3 has a few modes for players to try out, all of which were available either on the disc or as DLC in 2011. Arcade is your typical single player campaign. You select your team of three fighters and battle increasingly difficult CPU teams. It’s pretty standard stuff. The same goes for local and online versus modes: pick your team of fighters and throw down against your friends orpeople online. There’s a training mode where you can brush up on your skills by practicing your quarter-circle rolls until your thumb cracks or mastering aerial juggles until your brain is fried. You can customize the CPU intelligence so they just stand there like a virtual punching bag or loop specific maneuvers for you to attack or defend against. The Heroes and Heralds mode adds a card-collecting element where you apply cards with buffs to enhance your fighters’ abilities. You battle the CPU for territory, with the core gameplay still being 2D fights, and the card and territory elements don’t add anything exciting to make this mode any kind of standout. You’re playing UMvC 3 to kick ass with your favorite heroes. Stick to Arcade and Versus modes where this is the focus.